Kevin and Babs Chisholm run The Dog and Dumplings pub along with a mute parrot and a lesbian cat. Little do they know that a developer has just bought the place and intends to develop the premises. The ensuing tale of mayhem, mishap and general silliness follows the story of Kevin and Babs’ disappointment, outrage and ultimate feisty resistance.
A musical comedy experience to savour
This is a story of our times – communities ripped apart by unfeeling developers, heedless of the human suffering caused by the pursuit of profit. The opening of the play, in which the arousal of the developer and the saleswoman is blatantly pornographic, is a powerful metaphor for capitalism of the worst kind. A seduction using bids and counterbids for property and profit shows us a kind of exploitation that has nothing to do with consent.
Kevin is a sweetheart of a landlord, a martyr to diabetes, thrush and endometriosis. Babs, his hearty wife, is earthy, worldly but ultimately an innocent. In a play that deals with much-used character types of this kind it is a fine line between archetype and cliché, but Boogaloo Stu’s writing effortlessly keeps these characters and situations both original and pleasingly familiar. No mean feat.
As a double act, Flick Ferdinando and Boogaloo Stu work so well together, as Babs and Kevin, that they had the audience with them from the off. Each has a set piece. Babs, after clambering onto the bar in a triumphant fit of righteous indignation at the selling of the pub (and the removal of her livelihood) gets vertigo and has trouble getting down – an undignified and ultimately semi-naked process that had the audience crying with laughter. Kevin, in a moment of pathos, brings a tray of shots out to share with the audience: "One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me…"; his descent into drunkenness and bizarre dancing is a classic moment of comic theatre.
With live accompaniment on piano and drums and a clutch of catchy songs this was a musical comedy experience to savour. To come across work so classy in this genre is a rare treat and the performers deserved the raucous cheer at the end.